Have you ever considered how many fonts there are in the font menu on your computer? Microsoft makes available almost 200 different typefaces. On the Apple machine I have at home there are a similar number. I never would have believed it if I had not counted them myself. Of course these statistics include the five different variations of a font such as Gill Sans, for example. And out of this number, how many do you use on a daily basis, three or four? Among my most used typefaces, I count Calibri, Ariel, News Gothic, New Times Roman. How dull!
Working on the installation, Recent Acquisitions: Digital Typography, made me keenly aware of the larger world out there in font land! Not that we would choose to use an expressive font for our everyday office work , but certainly in the role of advertising, designers these days can choose among the myriad of different type fonts already out in the market, or invent their own to suit the project they are working on. Recently I received two mass advertising pieces incorporating “out of the ordinary” fonts. Admittedly, they were both for lecture programs at two different architecture schools which might tend to hire hip designers who could use the assignment to try experimental graphics and fonts in order to show the institution as reflecting the latest design ideas. Next time you see a piece of advertising, be it a poster, mailing piece, television advertisement, or film title, make a point of looking at the font and consider what the producer is trying to say with the type choice, how does the font relate to or impact on the object advertised, what does the font convey with respect to technology? Is it successful in making a point or is just hard to read! I would love to hear your stories.